An open letter to Christian conservatives: Why you lost and what I suggest you do about it

Hello my American social conservative and Conservative Christian friends.

Yes I do call you friend. I have been known to sometimes work with you on various projects, and I hold nothing but goodwill in my heart for most of you who are working unappreciated–or even lied about and abused–doing things like setting up shelters for pregnant women who don’t want to abort, standing up for the need children have for their fathers, running homeless shelters and soup kitchens, and doing other charitable and relief work. Some of you helped save my life some years ago when I was completely destitute and, yes, suicidal.

Although I will say some of you, those of you who require a Bible-reading and statement of faith before feeding–I’ve seen this personally, it’s not a myth–you should put a stop to it. You make people hate Jesus when you make it like he’ll only feed you, bind your wounds, or give you shelter if you listen to him lecture first. When the good Samaritan acted, he didn’t ask whether the man he saved was spiritually clean first.

But beyond that, I find much good in traditional, conservative values. Social conservatives also attempt to preserve what is good in our society, and not just protect it from bad, and that too is valuable.

Now. I just said a lot of nice things about you. I meant every word. But I’m not a social conservative, and I never will be. And I really mean that: never. I tried living that way once and it was absolutely horrible. No thank you, no no no no. If you want to live that way go for it. Do it joyfully and without apology. I will not, nor will I be teaching my sons to live that way. Ever. They will make their own choices, including whether or not to believe in God or if they do how they will approach scripture. It is not my job, or yours, to tell them how to live.

So what to do about people like me who’ve heard your message, in great detail, and simply said “no thank you?” Because here’s the thing: we’re a majority of people now.

We frequently tell feminists that they’re a minority of the population, because they are, and always have been, and likely always will be, and that they have no right to tell the rest of us how to live. Because they don’t.

But you are a minority of the population too. And just as most people accept that there is some truth to what feminists say (it’s hard to be wrong 100% of the time, although they try), most people accept there’s some truth in what you say. But most people also think you’re wrong about a lot of stuff too.

I don’t say that to mock you or hurt you. I say it to tell it like it is.

Given that this is reality, and most people will not ever become fundamentalist Christians or social conservatives, as I see it you have a couple of options. For religious reasons you may want to flee Mammon and shun the wider world. That’s an old and grand tradition among American conservatives in particular. You may well find Bible verses that justify you doing that–it would probably be a gross misreading in my opinion, but what do I know? I’m a Catholic and we don’t accept Fundamentalist notions that you can just pick up a Bible and find God’s will in it based on your own personal interpretations or by just reading the plain text.

No really, we don’t. Look up what Catholic and Orthodox teachers and theologians say about Sola Scriptura. They reject it completely and are bemused most of the time when you fling Bible verses at them. Even if they agree with your usage of the quote, which they occasionally will, they’ll always seem somewhat condescending to you because in their view you guys get the Bible wrong so often it’s impossible to keep track of.

Now again you don’t have to agree with me on that, and you can scream that I’m dead wrong and start flinging more Bible verses at me to prove it. I won’t be interested. My mind and my heart are hardened to your message. I very seriously mean that. I do not accept salvation in the way you offer it. I reject it wholesale in fact. I’d rather burn, and yes I mean that. I spent years in Bible study with you guys and I think you’re dead, dead wrong in your approach to scripture.

But I’m not interested in debating you on it either. I suggest dealing with the fact that most of your fellow Christians don’t use the Bible the way you do. And I only bring up all this Bible stuff for one reason:

To remind you that your views are frequently a minority among even Christians, and you have no right to speak for them either. Well, you can try, but most won’t listen because they think you’re wrong. So is there any chance the Holy Spirit is leading them aright and you are the misled ones? Just a thought.

You want to push the message that abortion is always murder? OK. We’ve heard you say that for almost 50 years. And while there is strong evidence that a growing number of young people are more pro-life than their parents, you’re reading your own desires into assuming that’s going to eventually translate into abolishing abortion. It won’t. The vast majority of people want abortion legal in some fashion, and always have. They just want limits on it. Otherwise, you’ve lost that argument. I’m sorry but you have. It isn’t relevant whether I agree with you or not. In fact, let’s say I do agree with you: then I’d be saying we lost. Whatever. It isn’t going to change.

Ditto the issue of homosexuality. You lost. You really did. You lost completely and utterly.

Are there people out there sharing an ideology that attempts to normalize sexual abuse of children and teaching young people dodgy things on human sexuality? Who even use sexuality, homosexual or heterosexual, in cultlike fashion to lure followers? Absolutely. Are there mothers and fathers who sexually molest their children in a “homosexual” fashion? Yes. But these days, most of us know at least a few gay men and women and the vast majority of them are not trying to convert your children and the vast majority of them are not mentally ill and very, very few people are going to “become gay” due to exposure. You may wish to declare them sinners and you have a right to do that–but you would do better to look after your own salvation not theirs. Their choice is between them and God. Leave them alone unless they’re picking your pocket or breaking your leg. Worry about the ideologues actually pushing an agenda, which most (I said most) gay people are not doing.

I will also note for you something else: there’s this large and growing thing called the Manosphere, of which the large and growing and increasingly influential Men’s Rights Movement is part. No one controls that movement, and that’s a little scary. Have you ever heard that joke about “Organized Baptist” being a contradiction in terms? Yeah. It’s true of the Men’s Rights Movement too. A lot of conservative, religiously oriented guys and girls are here, and they are standing right next to the queers and the weirdos and the beggars and the prostitutes and the tax collectors.

Do you happen to remember who else partied with people like that? While others were busy piously reading from the scriptures and lecturing on immorality while living their own lives of hypocrisy and sin?

Here’s the thing: most MRAs welcome social conservatives with open arms. We really do. We just won’t let you be in charge, and we will not tell you what your itching ears want to hear. We have quite the marketplace of ideas going here, and we will listen to what you say, we will think on it, and if you are right we will say we think you right and if you are wrong we will say we think you wrong.

So will you accept that with humility and add your wisdom to this growing movement of malcontents and rebels when there are ears ready to hear your wisdom and your insight? And prepared to accept it if your advice is refused? And also just be glad when you make a point and others do listen based on your words? The Bible calls that humility you know, and it’s a good thing for a Christian to cultivate. So if you can do all that, welcome. But if you just want to condemn us for not living up to your moral standards, well, Christ had some tart words for that too. Maybe you should look them up.

Now, as I say, you could walk away from all this “Men’s Rights” drivel. Some of you have. I’ve read quite a few snotty, ignorant things by conservatives slamming MRAs. The overwhelming majority of those “conservatives” never even bothered to talk to one of us. I hope you guys realize that by doing this–by slandering people you haven’t even tried talking to on their own terms–you’re quite possibly harming your brothers, your sons. Because your sons are increasingly saying the same things we do. If not aloud to you, then to their friends:

Why on Earth would any sane man yoke himself to a woman, becoming her wage slave, knowing that at any point in this bargain she can pull out and take everything he has including his children, even use weapons on him, and have him jailed for his troubles, unilaterally and with no practical recourse for about 90% of the male population when it happens?

By the way, have you visited any of the men in debtor’s prison? They’re all over America now. They’re almost all fathers we’ve been putting in jail while everyone is worried whether the government will recognize gay couples as married by law or whether or not there should be a 150 year old flag flying over some state capital. Dads in jail. Ripped from their children, jailed without due process, and what will you say or do about that except call them bums?

Furthermore, young men are fleeing conservative Christian denominations in droves because frankly most of you are busy telling them why they need to buckle down and straighten up and fly right and protect the women and own up to a huge list of responsibilities to women you’ve put on their shoulders and they’re increasingly saying, “Why should I do that? What sane man would? Do I get anything out of this but your grudging praise and maybe some sex I can get 50 other ways?”

Yes, young women are leaving too. But it’s hard not to notice that on any given Sunday, there are more women than men in most Churches these days. Now you could flatter women’s vanity, women’s egos, and say something ludicrious about women being more spiritually advanced than men. Or it could be that young men are hearing nothing but what they owe and what they must do and what you expect of them, and wondering what they get out of it besides your vague promises of salvation and moral righteousness without any strong reason to believe you have any authority to make such promises.

Oh, and I’ve noticed a lot of you–a whole lot of you, maybe most of you–always blame your sons when the relationship goes bad and he loses his kids. Damn near 100% of the time. Now why would that be? Am I just imagining that?

By the way, those young men can’t find anything in the Bible that says they personally are required to sacrifice all to a woman. Because it’s not in there. Not unless you torture the scriptures so hard they finally give you what you want. Some fringe reading of Genesis and the word “helpmeet” or something or other St. Paul said about wives submitting I would imagine. I assure you that will fall on deaf ears more than 90% of the time, not just with most people but especially with most young men. Not just because atheists don’t agree with the Bible, but because most Christians think you’re going overboard there too.

It is also hard not to notice just how often in so many churches the preacherman is telling women what they want to hear. Those women like a man at the pulpit, for the most part, but if he starts challenging them on what they owe to their men besides vague “submission” (what do I need a woman’s submission for?) you will see a lot of them walking out the door and not coming back. Maybe, just maybe, you should let them–if they will show no genuine, demonstrable regard for the well-being, safety, and care of your brothers, your sons.

Did I just suggest women should have to prove to men that they are worth having a relationship with? I did. Is there something un-Biblical about that? I’ve read it, and I don’t think there is.

Furthermore, I have to tell you–and I know these words will be harsh but I think you need to hear them: before the Feminists came along, you guys had a reputation for being the most shrill, humorless, rigid killjoys and nosy busybodies and nuisances in the world. Indeed, that kind of behavior, I submit, is a big part of why for all practical reasons the Social Justice crowd has taken over so much of society: you guys were so ghastly to people so often no one could stand you anymore, and these even worse people flooded in to fill the gap.

But we aren’t putting you back in that gap. Sorry, we’re not. Deal with it.

Feminist women are frequently humorless, bitter, nasty scolds, killjoys who ruin the fun for everyone–but you frankly have let too many of these same types of control freak witches control your churches. You have also not called out these women in your numbers for their abusive behavior.

In other words, a whole lot of us are anticipating having to take you social conservatives on once we’ve taken care of the feminists. Which, by the way, we will, with your help or without.

Or you could decide we don’t have to be hostile, and accept that Christ’s mission for you is to share your wisdom with those willing to hear, and not keep telling the rest of us we have to do everything your way because you and your friends are convinced you’ve read the Bible and/or Constitution 100% correctly and everyone else has got it wrong.

By the way, that VAWA thing? Thanks for opposing it, even if you failed to ever once mention the boys who get beaten raped or killed by their girlfriends or wives, directly or by proxy while you scoff and laugh just like the feminists. I must have missed the part in the Scriptures where wives are allowed to beat their husbands.

I was recently pleased to help create a hashtag called #SpankAFeminist. There were a number of conservatives expressing discontent there. I can only respond by reminding you once again that nobody likes humorless, stick up the butt, rigid, controlling, judging, belittling, sniffing, passive-aggressive, cringing-at-the-possibility-that-some-woman-somewhere-might-be-offended prudes. And uh, I remember when that was you guys.

Or you could laugh, wince a little at some bad jokes and some tasteless humor and imagery–just like I do–and accept that poking fun at yourselves as well as your enemies is perfectly OK, and that there is no roving band of MRAs running around the streets with paddles looking to chase women around, and no roving bands of gay MRAs are coming for your children either.

So will you fulminate about how self-evidently correct you think your scriptural readings are? Or will you open your heart to people telling you you’re getting it wrong and may be harming your sons in the process? Also, maybe you want to tell them to stop arguing with us, and start alerting those running your churches, and even the entire Conservative Movement, that if they don’t start loving and respecting the wants and needs and desires of your sons, most of those boys are just going to leave.

How long would you stay in a place where all they do is take and never give? That may be some sort of self-flagellating Christian ideal, but seriously: how long would any of you do that, and who among you would instruct anyone else that they should make such a choice?

Conservatives, you need to start challenging not just yourselves, but specifically your women. You need to tell your women they are not the center of the universe and that society was not molded to work at their whims and wishes either. You as a Christian Man undoubtedly know your place, which is as a humble servant of God. Well start telling your women that, you bloody cowards, and stop, just stop, calling your sons losers and layabouts and bums who need to “man up” in order to provide for a woman. That’s a lousy deal and you know it. So just admit it: it’s time for women and men to figure out what kind of relationship will work for them, and not on you to tell them how to do it.

Now if you want a dirty little secret? I will bet heavily that if you just let people choose how they want to live, the majority will wind up choosing something that looks like that “traditional” relationship we so often talk about, with the man making most of the money and the woman making most of the home stuff. Just as I suspect that if you tell women that if they get pregnant, no man is obligated to financially support them unless he actually agreed to be a father, there will likely be fewer abortions because there will likely be a lot less profligate sexual activity to begin with.

But it’s up to you. Keep this in mind though: you aren’t going to make conservatives out of most MRAs. But most MRAs–not all but most–will 100% accept conservative and religious MRAs and back you if you have a good ideas. Good ideas can come from all sorts of people.

Just know your place. Seriously. Know your place.

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